Sunday news round-up: June 1st-7th

Top Story: Turks head to the polls in general election: Up to 53 million residents of Turkey are heading to the polls today to choose their next government. Late polling data suggests that incumbent PM Ahmet Davutoğlu and his Justice & Development Party will retain its slim majority in Turkey’s Grand National Assembly, with the main opposition Republican People’s Party retaining most if not all of its current seats, but making no major gains. Election shenanigans have been few this time around, aside from Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suing a political opponent for “mental anguish” after the opponent accused the President of installing gold toilet seats in his Palace.

Queen of England faces scrutiny for increased expenses: Britain’s costliest benefits recipient is facing scrutiny by the Treasury after taxpayer funding of her estate rose by nearly a third in the past two years. Despite vital public services facing deep cuts, the Royal estate is completely expempt from times of austerity, thanks to legislation which forbids a lower grant to the estate than the one given in the previous year. The funding for the Monarchy’s estate comes from profits it makes from tourism and other income, and relevant legislation means the treasury must pay back at least 15% of the money earned by the Crown to its own estate. That amount was £31 million of taxpayer money in 2012-13, will be £40 million this year, is likely to rise again next year.

ISIS relying on capture of U.S.-made weaponry: Unofficial state and terrorist group ISIS is realizing its annexationist and expansionist goals thanks to U.S.-made weaponry, it has emerged. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi admitted in a televised interview that the loss of Mosul to ISIS resulted in an enormous cache of Humvees falling into the hands of the militia group, which continues to pillage ancient sites and exacerbate Iraq’s already catastrophic refugee problem. The U.S. has been selling the Iraqi government various kinds of weapons and vehicles with which to fight ISIS, having exhausted the political capital necessary to approve another “boots on the ground” war, but reports such as these renew fears that the Americans’ proxy war against ISIS is actually assisting them, not harming them.

Former Liberal Democrats leader dies: The former leader of the Lib Dems, Charles Kennedy, has died at the age of 55. Kennedy is credited with leading the Liberal Democrats to electoral victory, securing them 62 seats in the 2005 General Election, in what many now consider to be the party’s golden days. Despite this victory, Kennedy stepped down as leader a year later after disclosing a severe problem with alcoholism. Police are not treating Kennedy’s death as suspicious.

Israeli tanks and bulldozers pillage Gaza in revenge attack: IDF bulldozers and tanks have been spotted in Southern Gaza demolishing barley and wheat farms in an apparent revenge attack for rockets fired into Israel this week. Although Hamas probably has no involvement in the rocket attacks, and has thusfar been observing the 2014 ceasefire, Israel regards Hamas to be responsible for any and all terrorist attacks, and holds civilians personally accountable. Revenge attacks and targeting civilians is outright forbidden in international law, and is considered a war crime.

Pentagon has no idea how anthrax spread across labs: The Pentagon says it has no clue how live samples of anthrax made their way to 51 labs and three countries in the past decade, but admits it may have inadvertently “shipped” the deadly samples by accident. The anthrax was meant to be completely killed with gamma rays before being shipped off to the labs for research, but the decontamination process apparently never happened, exposing lab personnel in three countries to the deadly virus. A Pentagon spokesman confirmed that there is no risk to public health, as the anthrax was in a very low concentration.


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